Word of the day

November 25, 2011

Vote– a formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue; a means by which such a preference is made known, such as a raised hand or a marked ballot; a choice or decision expressed by the voice, by hand or by writing;  the number of votes cast in an election or to resolve an issue; a group of voters alike in some way; the act or process of voting; the result of an election or referendum; the right to participate as a voter, suffrage.

The things you do for the cause

November 25, 2011

Getting election hoardings up at the start of a campaign is a major effort.

Looking after them and cleaning up after the vandals is also a big job.

Getting them down again isn’t always easy either:

All weather campaigner

November 25, 2011

There’s a lot more to campaigning than the carefully stage-managed photo opportunities we see on television.

I can’t speak for other parties, but know that all National MPs, candidates and their teams of volunteers have been doing the hard work they hope will translate into voter support.

That means a punishing schedule of public meetings, functions, events, interviews, door knocking, delivering pamphlets, human hoardings, and generally seeing and being seen.

Regardless of what the polls are saying – and not even the most optimistic of us are counting on being able to govern alone- National MPs and candidates and their teams of supporters have been told to give campaigning their all and carry on through rain hail or snow.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has been taking that last instruction literally:

She’s also had to cope with traffic hold-ups:

(That red vehicle coming the other way isn’t the opposition campaigning it’s the Rural Mail wo/man.)

Ending as he began?

November 25, 2011

Winston Peters began his parliamentary career after a legal appeal.

Is it possible that if New Zealand First manages to get over the 5% threshold tomorrow he might end his career the same way?

Kiwiblog has found evidence which suggest this could be so:

An investigation by Kiwiblog has found that the candidacy of Winston Peters for New Zealand First is illegal under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Follow the link to read more.



Seven reasons to oppose MMP

November 25, 2011

Jim Hopkins has a very good reason to vote for change tomorrow:

Unless we vote for change, the politicians will decide how they are elected. They may tinker with MMP or change it radically. The choice will be theirs, not ours. A vote for change will ensure a second referendum, with MMP tested against one of the alternatives. It means we will control the evolution of our peaceful democracy. Let the politicians address the economy. But the elections belong to us!

Auckland businessman, Ashley Church, provides six more good reasons to ditch MMP:

1.      Confusion. After over 15 years, there are still a very large number of voters who don’t understand how MMP works and don’t know whether the List, or the Electorate vote, is more important. The procedure for electing an MP and decide who will form a Government should be simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. MMP isn’t.

2.       Strategic Voting. Voting for one party in order to get another elected, such as voting ACT in Epsom to get National into Government, is one of the perverse results of the MMP system. Having to vote for one party in order to get another elected is counter to the basic  principles of democracy Voting should be simple and straightforward and based on the principle of supporting the party you want in Government.

3.      Disproportional Representation. The 3 yearly ritual of allowing small parties (sometimes VERY small parties) to decide who they will go into coalition with (and therefore, who will be Government) puts far too much power in the hands of the few, over the many. Parties which enjoy widespread voter support should have power in proportion to that support – they should not be able to be held to ransom by small parties of extremists with unpopular agendas as allowed by the current system

4.      Backdoor MPS. Another insidious feature of MMP is the way it allows people who have been defeated in a fair electorate contest to get into Parliament by the backdoor, through the MMP Party List. If a candidate has been rejected by the voters – that rejection should stand.

5.       Unstable Government. One of the repeated consequences of coalition Government, in this country, is the reality of unstable Government. One particular party has made an art form of suddenly finding a conscience 6 to 12 months out from an election and engineering its departure from the coalition – thus throwing the country into turmoil and forcing the creation of bizarre short-term coalitions. Any system which allows a small party to bring down the Government, as MMP does, should be utterly rejected.

6.       Short term thinking. Because the major parties have to keep one eye on the needs of their smaller coalition partners, long-term thinking is virtually impossible under MMP. The concept of a nation-building plan which spans several electoral cycles is virtually impossible under MMP because the makeup of each Parliament differs so much depending on the configuration of parties which form the Government.  Governments should be able to plan for changes that take more than 3 or 6 years to implement – but under MMP they can’t.

I would add: MMP gives too much power to parties at the cost of representation for people; promotes groups at the expense of individuals and makes electorates too big.

P.S. the quote from Jim is the closing paragraph in a column on voting which deserves to be read in full.

P.P.S. I have no idea who Ashley Church is, I came across his media release on Scoop.

Poliltical compass points me nowhere

November 25, 2011

Liberation suggests people who are undecided about who to vote for tomorrow try the political compass.

I did and got this result:

Economic left/right 3:88; social libertarian/authoritarian -2.87 is slightly  more centrist and libertarian than last time I did the test when I was right  4.38, Libertarian: -1.74.

But it’s absolutely useless as a guide for voting because there are no  New Zealand parties in that square:

I’m taking that as an indication of faults in the test and analysis of the parties rather than my decision and sticking with two ticks for National.

Friday’s answers

November 25, 2011

Thursday’s questions were:

1. It’s choisir in French, in scegliere  Italian,  elegir in Spanish and whiriwhiri in Maori, what is it in English?

2. Who said: “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.”?

3. How many members should (as distinct from does) a party need to be registered?

4. Will you vote on Saturday (or before by special vote)?

5. Have you decided how you’ll vote?

Points for answers:

Gravedodger gets three and an improvement but not enough for #3.

James S. gets three, a nearly-there for #5 and a getting better but still not enough for #3.

Andrei gets three,  and 2/3 for #5, a far too low for #3 and a bonus for the full answer to #2.

James G. gets three, a bonus for extra languages and consolation point for # 4 since he would if he could.

Adam gets two, a far-too-low for #3 and a very deep sigh for #s 4 and 5.

Paul gets one and a how can #5 be yes if #4 is a pass?

I’ve confused myself with the scoring but will award an electronic box of North Otago new potatoes to Andrei and James G.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

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